banana tea bread


This classic recipe has been in my collection since the 1970s when I got Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook  from The Book of the Month Club.  Is it possible there was a time before became ubiquitous?! Now the cookbook is called “Essential” but it is the same recipe. I’m glad some things have continuity.

219g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
126g  white superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease two 7-inch loaf pans and set aside. You can also use one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.

Baker’s Note: My oven is fast so I reduce the heat to 325/170 as soon as the pan goes in the oven.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening with the sugar, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the eggs one at a time until just combined.Scrape down the sides.

Add the flour mixture alternating with the bananas, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides, and be sure to give the bottom of the bowl a sweep as well. Pour into the two pans, evenly dividing the batter between the two. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Both pans will be half full. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then turn out to cool thoroughly on the wire rack.


  • Use sifted and packed brown sugar instead of white sugar.
  • Add 1 cup dried cranberries to the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top of the batter with demerara sugar and sliced almonds then bake as usual.



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